‘Joyous Exchange’ to be celebrated Thursday

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The written word is combining forces with the visual arts in an exhibit that brings the work of two Troy University professors together for “A Joyous Exchange: The Art of Collaboration” at the Troy University International Arts Center.

The center will host an artists’ reception for Troy University professors Dr. Diane Orlofsky and Jerry Johnson, co-creators of the exhibition, from 5 until 7 p.m. Thursday. The public is invited.

“A Joyous Exchange” is a journey between Johnson and Orlofsky as they shared a co-creative process.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In 2011, Orlofsky asked Johnson, a professor of design, to illustrate a book she had written, titled “Meditations.”

However, Johnson said, from the beginning, he realized he could not do what Orlofsky was asking him to do.

“Diane’s book was not one to be illustrated. It was one to be illuminated,” Johnson said.

And, that was understandable.

As Orlofsky sat with her dying father, the words came to her.

“They were lyrical. I could hear the music. Music and memories filled the pages,” said Orlofsky, Troy University of director of choirs.

Reading it, Johnson said he was so moved that his commitment was not to just illustrate the book for Orlofsky but to illuminate the words in such a way that both the artwork and words would take on a spiritual quality.

“That the words would be illuminated through a joyous exchange.”

The culmination of that “joyous exchange is “Meditations” and “Illuminations” by Diane Orlofsky and Jerry Johnson and it is “A Joyous Exchange.”

Orlofsky wrote the meditations and introspective pieces, which Johnson said they tried to illustrate and magically upgrade to an illumination.

In so doing, they created pieces of artwork that pull from the meditations.

“As I sat by my father’s bedside, I began to think about all the things that we go through as human beings – grief, loss, life and death,” she said. “I began writing as a way of getting my feelings out, as a way of healing.”

The result of those writings is the culmination of the series of 24 essays – words that Johnson transformed into visions.

Orlofsky said her hope is that through “A Joyous Exchange” people will understand the beauty of art that overlaps, of co-creating.

“Jerry turned the words into his vision,” Orlofsky said. “Neither of us had ego going in. We listened to each other’s points of view and what we have is really a joyous exchange.”

Carrie Jaxson, Troy University International Arts Center director, said “A Joyous Exchange” is the culmination of five years of collaboration between the two artists.

“It is amazing to see what they have created through a collaborative effort,” she said. “It will be so interesting and enlightening to hear them talk about the process and about the pieces and how they relate – the meditations to the artwork. This will be a very interesting evening and we invite the community to join us.”

The artists’ reception is from 5 until 7 p.m. The Art Talk will begin around 5:30 p.m.

The “A Joyous Exchange” exhibition will run through July 29. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 1 until 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free.